Antiques are Mark Moran’s business. And business is good.
Moran travels the upper Midwest participating in antique appraisal events. An author of 27 books dealing with antiques, he’s an antique authority.
“Sometimes an event can be a very intimate setting, with a dozen people or so,” Moran said. “Everybody has a ball, and I have more fun than anyone else.
“It is a great way to make a living.”
Moran will be taking part in an antique appraisal event at the Cobb Community Center on June 7 at 6 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Cobb Public Library.
Library Director Jesse Lee-Jones received an email from Moran concerning his antique appraisal events and felt one could be a good fit in Cobb.
“It just jumped out to me as something no one has ever done before in Cobb,” Lee-Jones said. “I thought we should do something.
“We want to show people we are here to serve them, even if it isn’t through books. We are anticipating quite the crowd.”
The antique appraisal event is free of charge, but Lee-Jones noted a $10 donation is suggested. In addition to the antique appraisal event, the local 4-H group will be hosting an ice cream social.
“We are asking that anybody who wants something appraised register in advance here at the library or the village office,” Lee-Jones said. “We are 60 percent full, so there are still spots for people who would like items appraised.”
Moran, who makes his home in Iola, Wis., travels two, three and sometimes four days a week for his antique appraisal events. Most of the events he holds allow him travel to and from the event in the same day.
“The tiniest towns have had the biggest turnouts,” Moran said. “I just never know what I am going to find or what the turnout will be.”
Moran, an antique collector himself, first began appraising antiques while working as a reporter at the Green Bay Press Gazette. He was hired by Krause Publications, a publisher of books and magazines for collectors, in the late 1990s.
“When I quit the newspaper business after 30 years, my first contract to write for Krause publications was to produce 12 books in two years,” Moran said. “I still don’t know how I did it; that is a book every two months.
“It was a lot of work and it was a lot of fun.”
Moran’s work at Krause Publications led to multiple appearances on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow.
“I love doing Antiques Roadshow, but that is a long day,” Moran explained. “We have to be on set at 7:30 in the morning and we seldom get done until 7:30 at night, but the camaraderie among all the appraisers is great.
“A few weeks ago PBS called to ask if I could do the 2012 opener in Boston, but I can’t because I’ll be in Witternberg, Wis. doing my program.”
Moran was released from his contract at Krause Publications in January 2011.
“I felt at the time it was right for another big change,” Moran said.
Moran launched Antique Appraisal Events in August 2011.
“Many of the programs are fundraisers,” Moran explained. “They can pay me a fee, or we can do a revenue sharing option.”
Moran also offers a fixed presenter’s fee for organizations who wish to forgo the fundraising option.
“These programs that I have been doing over the last nine months have grown exponentially,” Moran said. “I booked my 140th program this week and life is good.”
What does Moran enjoy most about his events?
“Hearing the stories, because everyone has a story about their item,” he said. “Most people don’t care what the value is, they just want to know if the story is true.
“I also learn at every program, I learn different things. Every program I do, there is one totally cool item that comes in.”
Among those hoping to learn the story behind their item at the June 7 event will be Lee-Jones.
“We have some old whiskey decanters,” she said. “We bought them on a whim and don’t know anything about them, so we will have to get them appraised for the fun of it.”